Now that we’ve entered December, the Christmas festivities are in full swing. There are parties to attend, cookies to bake, packages to wrap, trees to decorate, concerts to enjoy, potlucks to cook for, school programs to assist with, . . . . and it seems to me that the list is endless. The truth be told, when I hear the word, “Christmas” it makes me tired before anything starts, maybe like Pavlov’s dogs who salivated when they heard a bell chime. To make it more challenging for me, I have lots of friends and family members who love the Christmas festivities and countdown the days until the frolicking can commence. I watch my friends and family with curiosity, perplexed and awed by their ease and grace to enjoy this season.
From their point of view, sometimes they think I’m like the Christmas Grinch, as it may seem like I’d prefer to find a quiet cave and disappear from the noise, obligations, hubbub and seasonal delicious treats. And it’s not that I don’t like the yummy food, beautiful music or serene snow that can christen this season.
My deal is that it’s easy for Jesus’ birth to get swallowed up in the season’s bustle, hustle, duties, celebrations, cookies, wrapping paper, gifts, decorations, glitz and glam. So I find it challenging to stay focused on Jesus in the midst of this hectic season. In the past, I’ve tried to keep this season less hectic so I could focus on Jesus better. That’s been a really constructive tactic to help me keep Jesus in the Christmas crosshairs.
For whatever reason, this year seems different. I was looking at my December calendar to find some empty space for lunch with a friend and I was disheartened to see almost every day booked. How did I let this month get away from me and it’s just the beginning of the month? Where did Jesus go for me in this month? Maybe I should call this month my Jesus Month instead of Christmas, as a purposeful reminder for my focus.
And maybe it would be helpful to think about Mary, Jesus’ mother, this month as we celebrate Jesus’ birth. She was obviously the key player for Jesus’ birth, after she was overshadowed by Holy Spirit, nine months earlier. So when I think about Mary giving birth to Jesus in this month, I’m reminded about what it was like for me in the last month of pregnancy with my three kids. I was tired and trying to keep my focus on the finish line of giving each of my babies a healthy and safe delivery / introduction to their separate existence.
I suspect that Mary, being away from her family to register in Bethlehem with Joseph her husband, maybe she was a little jittery or possibly overwhelmed with the unknown (child birth) looming in her immediate future. Or maybe Holy Spirit helped her all the way through her pregnancy, so that she didn’t deliver Jesus in a completely frazzled and unraveled experience.
So when I think about Holy Spirit helping Mary through her pregnancy to deliver the only begotten Son of God, it encourages me to focus on Holy Spirit to help me through this season to stay focused on Jesus.
This is my prayer for you, as you finish this blog. May Holy Spirit overshadow you throughout this season so that Jesus’ birth is fresh in your heart and outlook, not just on Christmas day, but for each day that leads to December 25th. Let’s remember that Christmas is the Jesus thing